Welcome, dear reader, to the most intense nightly read in the ‘sphere… The Nightly Ramble….
Lots to cover today, as always and as dictated by events, most of it to do with the bailout which at this point (About 2pm eastern) is looking like it won’t pass . so let’s get to it.
- Jerry Pournelle: 
Golden parachutes: we may detest them, but they are not the cause of the problem. And every one of the Democrats involved in this bailout benefited from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and every one of them was in favor of the CRA provisions requiring more and more sub-prime loans in order to increase home ownership.
No kidding. We see where that led. As a direct result of that push, how many millions did Democrat cronies walk away with from Government sponsored entities like Fannie and Freddie? Those were government’s responsibility… not the income of those working for private concerns.
And that the Democrats put that up so high on their list in spite of the real issue, tells me that there’s something they want out of that aspect, something of at least some psychological import; A reinforcement of socialist thought…. that success can only happen when government is running things.
Otherwise, why bother with it at all, since the numbers tell the story… that what CEO’s get paid in the private sector really doesn’t mean much, in the end? And no… I’m not suggesting this is the first step on that slippery slope. That was already taken when we accepted (Without anyone asking us) that the government has the right to decide who gets paid what. No, the first step was taken when we accepted the idea that such would be a good thing, (for reasons we never quite defined) if only the government could “do something about it”.
Perhaps one of you would be good enough, though to explain to me, how CEO’s getting less pay, benefits Joe Lunchbox, in any way? And how much longer are we going to allow the Democrats to push this illusion of theirs that their policies had nothing at all to do with the current situation, when the facts are in the archives ??
- By the way, if you want the actual text of the bailout bill , and have a couple hours to kill, have at it.
- Dale at Q&O  makes a decent enough case against the bailout. It’s worth your time to read, because he makes a number of good points, and it’s well stated. I tell him in comments there…
All well stated, Dale.But there’s one over-riding issue in my view; This is a governmentally created problem. They forced this number of failures by means of governmental power. Specifically, the expansion of the CRA and by means of hiding corruption within the agency they ran that expansion through. (If there was a lack of governmental oversight, it was at F&F, where Democrat cronies walked away with millions of taxpayer money.!) …they broke it, they need to pay to get it fixed. On that basis, I support the concept of a payment, if not, perhaps, under these specific conditions.
The way I described the morality involved here, the other day is this:
Let’s imagine that someone drives a truck through your house. Thank God, nobody gets hurt, but your house is now a large pile of kindling. Would you not want the people responsible for the accident… the driver and the company he’s driving for, for example, to pay for the damages and to set things right?
This situation was caused because government misrepresented itself to the companies that failed, and forced them into bad business practices, and gave them implicit assurances that they’d be backed by the government.
The government, of course, lied. to extend the metaphor, they broke it, they should pay for it, and going forward should keep their hands the hell away from it.
Yes, unquestionably, this bailout will mean a growth of government, but given my understanding of our situation,(Indeed, they’re already doing it when they lay the blame for this current crisis at the feet of private enterprise and try to attach ACORN funding to it, for example)… I see a larger growth occurring without it, as they will without question try to deal with the repercussions of the collapse.
Understand me clearly; I’m not happy about this either. Yet, given the basic morality of ‘you broke it you fix it’ and particularly given the dire consequences we see absent such a bailout process, I fail to see a moral alternative.
The stuff that will get added on is the nature of politics, I’m afraid, at the moment. We’re going to have to deal with the financial consequences and the initial problem as separate issues. Those added items, and those misdirections need to be fought, tooth and nail, I think.
The difference to be made, here I think, is how the lesson this crisis teaches, gets absorbed into our national consciousness. I accept, very grudgingly, that the government paying to fix the problem is the only first step that can be taken. However, the lesson needs to go out that government needs to keep their hands off private enterprise… including CEO pay, including lending policy, and so on, going forward.
There is a lot of blame to be placed at the feet of both parties for our current condition; The Democrats for pushing us in this direction and the Republicans for their ‘go along to get along’ and “we’re all Americans” BS, in allowing this nonsense to get as far as it has, instead of fighting this stuff tooth and nail as they should have been. But we’re here now, and there’s nothing for it, but this, I’m afraid.
What needs to happen now, as a part of this process, is problem identification, without shrinking from what we find. Solving a problem after all, involves identification of the cause, and arranging things so it doesn’t happen again. Given our situation with the election as the backdrop, that means McCain, and the Congressional Democrats are going to have to start attacking the Democrats on their history in this thing.
And that, by the way, is what I expect to see out of McCain in the following days.
- Now, I’m getting blowback from some, telling me about how these private firms jumped right in on their own, and that thereby the bailout is not valid. But as I told Lance , today:
It’s going to be a little hard, to argue as Dale  does, (And I think correctly) that…
y Reinvestment Act is about as pure an example of fascism as you’re likely to find. Its sole purpose is to require private firms to advance government aims. They might as well have called it the “Strength Through Joy Act”.
We really need to have debate about CRA. If the government wants to ensure that non-credit-worthy people receive home loans, even if their ability to pay for them is questionable, then the government, not private-sector companies, should be footing the bill…
…. and then turn around and suggest as Nancy Pelosi does that the government does not bear direct responsibility for the problem and it’s depth.
- And no, in case you didn’t get that out of my comments here and for the last couple days I’m not at all happy abut the direction this thing is taking. Me at OTB  this afternoon:
- Did you see where this chef died after eating some hot chili?  Of course the good news is, he won the bet.
- Did you note Obama’s wesbite saying “Unfortunately” only citizens can vote ? Yep…. Just let that phrasing roll around for a while. You’ll figure out the thinking, here.
- The New York Post has taken the time to document some of the ties of Obama to William Ayers, unrepentant terrorist.  As a whole, the press keeps trying to ignore this, apparently in the hopes the voters will, too.
- Here’s why. They know this race is going to come down to a question of honor and character. Commentary Magazine’s Jennifer Rubin agrees…
Bill Kristol is right, certainly, that John McCain needs to break the trajectory of the race or he will lose…..
McCain won the GOP primary ( albeit in a divided field) largely in a character contest. No less a figure than Bill Clinton remarked that “his greatness is that he keeps trying to come back to service without ever asking people to cut him any slack or feel sorry for him or any of that stuff because he was a POW.” If he can make it that again â€” a contest of moral fiber and character – he has his shot.
Just so. And that means, that McCain is going to have to take the gloves off on issues like Ayers, and like the Fannie and Freddie scandals.
- I see reality has taken hold in Europe . They’re talking about easing polution regulations in the face of economic issues. Apparently, they understand such things are based on arbitrary numbers and are in fact a luxury.
- In case anyone cares, Oil is now below $100.bbl 
- London markets are down … the dollars getting a big boost… biggest since it started going down under Clinton.
Yeah, but Bit, that’s not what I was responding to. What I was responding to was your (kind of) hair-on-fire claim that this was the first step down the path to government wage controls for all of us. That’s a stretch, no?
Frst step? Hardly.
Merely another along the way.
The first step? That was already taken when we accepted (Without anyone asking us) that the government has the right to decide who gets paid what. No, the first step was taken when we accepted the idea that such would be a good thing, (for reasons we never quite defined) if only the government could “do something about it”.
I didn’t say as much there, because frankly I was in a hurry. But, for the record, this, of nessessity includes a minimum wage law. Far as I’m concerned, Billy’s quite correct  as I quoted him the other day ; We’ve gone much father down the road toward socialism than most are willing to admit. A denial of that now is not going to help us. So, yeah, this bailout solution I’m not at all hapy with. But I view it as I do war; sometimes there no other way out, and I think this is one of those times. At the same time, then, a we go into this thing, we need a I told Dale, proper problem identification… and we need a teaching process based on that, to remind all of us how we got there…. socialism.